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Taking Care of Your Guitar


QUESTION:

If I leave my guitar in the trunk while I am at work on a cold day will it be okay? I have a case and I can wrap it in a blanket.

ANSWER:

After an hour or so, the blanket won’t help.  The guitar doesn’t generate any heat on its own so within an hour it will be the same temperature as the inside of the car whether a blanket is around it or not.

Getting super cold or super hot is not ideal for a guitar.  In general, you should treat a guitar like you would treat a human passenger.  You wouldn’t leave a person in a car without the heater on while you are at work for 8 hours.  It is the same on a hot summer day.  Because wood expands and contracts at different rates from the varnish, the varnish can crack over time from repeated heatings and coolings.  The truss rod in the neck is metal and it expands and contracts at a different rate than the wood neck, so extreme heat or cold can bend the neck.  Professional players with expensive instruments even worry about humidity changes, in addition to temperature.

On the other hand, my first guitar was a little classical guitar that I've had for 40 years.  It has been in every kind of abusive weather and temperature situation you can imagine and it still plays just fine.  So I would say it depends on how expensive the guitar is and how much you care about it.  If I had a $2,000 Taylor or Les Paul I would not leave it in the car.  If I had a $300 Yamaha or Epiphone, I wouldn’t worry too much.  In general, do your best to avoid letting it sit in direct sunlight, and being exposed to temperature or humidity extremes of any kind.

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